On this day: the premiere of Foyer de Danse

foyer-de-danse Alicia Markova, seen here at left in Frederick Ashton_s Foyer de Danse at the fledgling British company Ballet Club (1932).

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Foyer de Danse, a ballet by English choreographer Frederick Ashton, had its premiere on the 9th of October, 1932.

This footage (begins 24 seconds in) from the 1932 production features Ashton alongside English prima ballerina Alicia Markova (born Lilian Alice Marks):

Ashton would go on to become one of ballet’s best-known choreographers. His productions of ballets such as Cinderella and La fille mal gardée are still seen onstage at the Royal Opera House on a regular basis.

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On this day: the birth of a theatre star

Fred & Adele Astaire. circa 1906. The photograph is a publicity photograph illustrating Fred Astaire and Adele Astaire in a vaudeville act entitled A Rainy Saturday.

Fred and Adele Astaire, circa 1906.

Adele Astaire, stage star and sister of her movie star brother, Fred, was born in Omaha, Nebraska on the 10th of September, 1896. Her birth name was Adele Marie Austerlitz, but the surname was changed to make her sound more “American”. As a child, she and her brother moved to New York to attend the Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts.

Publicity photograph of Fred Astaire and Adele Astaire in 1921.

In 1921

Three years Fred’s senior, Adele was actually the more successful stage performer of the two siblings. However her brother went on to find Hollywood fame, and while Adele considered moving into film, she abandoned the plan, admitting to being intimidated by her brother.

Astaire married twice (her first husband died in this thirties), and had three children. She was considered the more personable of the two siblings.

She died in January of 1981, at the age of eighty-four.

On this day: a choreographer and his muse.

This is the edition of LIFE Magazine for the 23rd of August, 1965.

The cover features choreographer George Balanchine, who was born into a Georgian family in Saint Petersburg before moving to the United States and becoming the so-called “father of American ballet”.

With him is Suzanne Farrell, a young ballerina who was arguably the most famous of his “muses”. She had just turned twenty when this magazine came out.

They are in costume for the roles of Don Quixote and his “ideal woman” Dulcinea in Balanchine’s version of Don Quixote for New York City Ballet. This version is unrelated to the world-famous production that is regularly performed today. However, the version starring Farrell became a signature piece and showcase for both her as a ballerina, and for her famous Balanchine technique.

LIFE INTERNATIONAL cover 08-23-1965 Choreographer George

R.I.P. Bryan Lawrence

Bryan Lawrence in Le Conservatoire. The Australian Ballet, 1965. Photo Ken Byron, Australian News and Information Bureau.

Bryan Lawrence, a soloist with Britain’s Royal Ballet before moving to Australia to become one of The Australian Ballet’s early principals, died over the weekend. He was in his eighty-first year.

Swan Lake Royal Ballet School performance 1960 with Shirley Grahame. — with Shirley Grahame Kershaw. Bryan Lawrence.

With Shirley Grahame.

After retiring, Lawrence and his ballerina wife Janet Karin moved to Canberra where they founded a highly successful ballet school. Their graduates went to on star with companies such as American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet, and – of course – The Australian Ballet. Ross Stretton, the late director of both Australia’s national company and The Royal Ballet, also began his training there.

On this day…

Dancers from the London Festival Ballet on the 31st of May, 1952. They are photographed on London’s Southbank.

The company was renamed the English National Ballet in 1989, and is today home to some of the world’s most famous ballet stars, many of them from overseas.

Source

southbank-centre-7-1444132505-view-0 Cast members of the Festival Ballet, captured mid-leap on London's Southbank, 31 May 1952.